Many long, effusive articles could - and, indeed, have - been written about Flour & Ash, particularly in the wake of its recent opening in Westbury. Yet, a short, simple review is perhaps the best way to do justice to this restaurant’s straightforward approach: pizza, ice-cream and a few starters cooked in the same pizza oven until they are charred and infused with a sweet, smokiness. All served by with a smile, by staff who take the time to stop, chat and share their passion for the food here.
The pizza is served in the traditional Neapolitan style: a thin base, still a little soft in the centre, rising to a deep, elastic outer crust. And, oh, what a crust. The long prove and naturally occurring yeasts give the dough a complex flavour, with the sourdough’s characteristic tang complimented by the bitter, burnished edges that come from the blistering heat of the wood-fired oven.
I would eat the dough alone but, needless to say, the toppings are also fantastic: local cheeses, roasted vegetables, salty charcuterie and slow-cooked cuts of meat such as lamb shoulder or ox cheek. The standout pizza of the day comes with thick slices of aubergine, marinated in mellow spices and roasted until soft and luscious, then studded with mountainous peaks of creamy, mild ewe’s curd.
For desert, there is only ice cream. We try a light, clean coconut, a deep, bitter-sweet chocolate and a caramel-y banoffee. A vivid blackcurrant sorbet is so startlingly fresh that it impresses itself on our memories. The ice cream finishes the meal with the same high precedent that are set by the pizza. Flour and Ash does a few things, and it does them seriously well.